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Berwick Educational Association: Rocks, fossils and landscapes of Berwickshire

Berwick Educational Association presents a series of three lectures by Alison Tymon on the geology of Berwickshire on Friday 3, 10 & 17 August.

Much of the geological activity in this area is related to two major mountain building events: the Caledonian mountain building which took place during the Ordovician period and finished with a tectonic plate collision which affected the rock structures in Berwickshire and north Northumberland; the Variscan mountain building during the Carboniferous period, which took place largely in southern Europe but which had very dramatic peripheral effects on our coastline.

The course is divided into three sections which are based around the two mountain building events. During this time there was considerable volcanic activity, with remnants still seen in the Cheviot area, the Eildon Hills, and at Eyemouth and St Abb’s Head. A variety of sedimentary rocks from greywackes, conglomerates, sandstones, mudstones, limestones and coals were formed during the many millions of years of erosion of the mountains. The sedimentary rocks contain fossils of plants and animals which are recognised to be of great significance in the evolution of life.


Friday 3rd August
Silurian and early Devonian: covering the enigmatic Coldingham and Linkim Beds; the greywackes of Berwickshire; the nature of the Caledonian plate collision and the associated granites at Priestlaw and Cockburn Law; the variety of coastal cliff profiles produced by greywackes.

Friday 10th August
Devonian and early Carboniferous: the end of the Caledonian mountain building; the unconformity at Siccar Point; the subsequent igneous activity of the Cheviot granite and lavas and the St Abbs and Eyemouth volcanoes; the sedimentary rocks formed by the erosion of the mountains over 60 million years, including the conglomerates of the Reston Group; the upper Devonian sandstones and calcretes of Pease Bay; cliff profiles at St Abb’s Head and Eyemouth.

Friday 17th August
Carboniferous-early Permian: tropical wetlands, deltas and shallow seas in which the sediments which became sandstones, mudstones, limestones and cementstones were deposited; volcanic activity of the Kelso lavas and the Eildon Hills; frequent sea level changes giving cyclothems; evidence of life in the seas and on land, shown by tetrapod bones, the Foulden Fish Bed and the plant beds of Berwickshire; the Variscan mountain building and igneous activity; the Berwick Monocline which tilted and folded the Carboniferous rocks; the cliff profiles from Burnmouth to Cocklawburn.

Reference: Death of an Ocean; a Geological Borders Ballad by Euan Clarkson & Brian Upton 2010

Tea and coffee will be served; all are welcome and no previous knowledge is assumed.
Year: 2018
The Maltings Theatre & Cinema is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194